Find "Your Style" Fast! Article on Petapixel :0

agentlossing

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https://petapixel.com/2020/03/16/how-to-find-your-photography-style-fast/

I thought this article's title would be tongue in cheek. It's not! Am I alone in thinking this is a disastrous attitude to have towards coming up with a unique personal "style" (which phrase probably oversimplifies after the fashion of reductio ad absurbum already...) and is likely to squelch whatever creativity or artistic vision a photographer could have?

Apologies if you don't want to click on a Petapixel link. I am if nothing else quite lazy.

Thoughts?
 

agentlossing

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I'll excerpt a little.

What is the most important element in someone’s photography style? The quick answer is repetition.
What you do most, and most consistently, will define your style. What comes naturally to you will ultimately become your style. Your default setting—or, to put nicely, who you really are and how you see the world—will ultimately shape your photography style.

Someone’s photographic style used to be determined by only three factors: the film stock they generally used, the camera and lens they owned, and the subject matter at which they pointed their cameras. Street, portraiture, landscape, journalism, animals, commercial, location, fashion, etc. That was it, really.

Oh, and a massive body of work sticking to those three things consistently over a lifetime.

Okay, if this is legitimate, then what is "style" anyway? Obviously there isn't anything related to artistic vision, because the author distills it down to choice of subject, and gear, nothing more. I'm not sure how you're even supposed to forge any type of style, anything that other people would recognize or appreciate...

This seems absurdly simply, but it’s always easier said than done. After making these choices comes the hard part of actually sticking with them.

For myself, the first thing I did was put all the photographers I was inspired by in front of me and ask the question: what is it that I liked about their work? The answer, for me, was minimal aesthetics, black and white photos, and only shooting using natural light. So I picked a camera body, selected the lenses I used the most often, chose my favorite film stock (Kodak Tri-X 400) and went to town photographing everything this same way.

After a few months of this and reviewing my work—as you regularly should—I found some consistency through the body of work I was doing and started refining it further and further.

The only thing that I’m still stuck on to this day is my subject. Landscapes, street photography, candid moments, still life? Once I figure out which subject matter to focus on, I will have a more consistent style and body of work; for now, I’m happy with 2 out of 3. Like I said: easier said than done.

Committing to one thing is intimidating. It feels scary or even foolish to limit oneself so severely when we live in a world of endless options and abundance. Why in God’s name would you want to take choices away from yourself, eliminating options to get the shot? The answer can be summed up in one word: Focus. Once you limit your choices, you have more time and energy to spend on creativity rather than making choices.

While I agree with limitations boosting creative thinking and interpretation, I think limitations are different from reductionism. This sounds to me like trying to force creativity more than allowing it to do its work, because, in my experience, I need time and license to let my photographic interests drift into a specialization that I want to be limiting myself to. Not creating an artificial limitation and expecting creativity to flower when I might not be wanting to shoot what I've determined I will shoot!

I think people go wrong anytime they want a shortcut to things like style or artistry. It just doesn't work.

Also, not quite the same discussion: do you think you can become an artist? AKA a self-proclaimed one? In my estimation, people who call themselves artists as opposed to people who are determined to be artists by others are just full of it. A true artist doesn't want to be an artist. They just want to make what they like.
 

BosseBe

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What I took from that article was "Rinse and repeat"!
Try something for a while and see if you like it!
If you like it add it to your arsenal!
But what he forgot to mention was to continue doing it, try something new and see if you like that.
If you like it add that to your arsenal!

I don't think anyone today has only one "style", are you going to limit yourself to only "Street", or only "Landscape"?
Build your arsenal!
 

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